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Spiritual Shaming or Bullying, is this you?


Spiritual bullying is when you project your beliefs on to someone else in a shaming or judgmental way. During this time in our lives with Covid-19 and the black lives matter movement everyone is sending their opinions out in high gear. Whether you believe and support either is causing derision in families and friends. Have you read lately the posts of spiritual bypassing? Where the use of spiritual ideas and practices to avoid dealing with painful feelings, unresolved wounds and developmental needs are being pulled into the black lives matter movement as a way to shame spiritual practitioners for trying to end racism with love. Although I can loosely see the correlation, the phrase is being taken out of context. American psychologist John Welwood came up with the term in 1984 after noting that some people, by resorting to spirituality to avoid difficult or painful emotions or challenges, tended to suppress aspects of their identity and needs and stall their emotional development.Charles Whitfield later used the term in recovery literature.The term has seen little systematic study. (Wikipedia) Spiritual bypass can be addressed with various forms of psychotherapy, including focusing and motivational interviewing. Some of the biggest changes in the world happen through unity and love. We can't shame love and call it denial. It is an oxymoron. If we do not love and respect our fellow black Americans than how can the healing and change begin? Hate and years of ignorance have delivered us to the spot. In my trauma work with students, I find the biggest healing is through love. Sometimes love for yourself and others can make the difference. Yoga teaches us NOT to assign the labels ‘good’ and ‘bad’ to anything.  This is the quality of equanimity, which the Bhagavad Gita uses as the principle definition of yoga.

“Self-possessed, resolute, act without any thought of results.  Open to success or failure.  This equanimity is yoga.”  (Mitchell’s translation of B.V. v 5.24)

Meaning, you may not be able to control everything, but you can surely control your reaction to that ‘thing.’ 

Christian theologian Thomas Merton says this:“No despair of ours can alter the reality of things, or stain the joy of the cosmic dance which is always there. Indeed, we are in the midst of

it, and it is in the midst of us, for it beats in our very blood whether we want it to or not” (Thomas Merton: Spiritual Master, 1992).

Meaning: here we are.  On this Earth we are in the midst of vacillating joyous and sorrowful experiences. (lisa.ash.yoga)

Yogic philosophy can be twisted to suit your needs for support just as much as the bible can be changed to suit the needs of the fundamental Christian. But my opinion is this...my spiritual path is mine and not for you to judge or shame. I am on a journey to become a better human and whether or not you know what I am doing, how I feel about a subject or how I will act is, quite frankly, none of your business. Sadghuru said "A lot of nasty things are happening. Yes, we need to fix them, but you are not going to fix them when your mind and your consciousness are full of the violence you saw on the television today. This does not mean glossing over the negative. We must face the negative. There is no question about it. We must fix the negative, there is no question about it. But it is very important that the positive is nurtured."

Love can heal.

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